Orthodox City Council candidate Heshy Tischler was arraigned Monday for allegedly inciting an attack on a journalist.
Tischler, wearing a yarmulke and black blazer, appeared behind white metal bars, as he was arraigned on one count each of unlawful imprisonment, inciting to riot, menacing and harassment in connection to the assault of journalist Jacob Kornbluh in Borough Park last week.
Assistant DA Ari Farkas requested an order of protection in favor of Kornbluh.
“The defendant walked up to the complainant and was yelling and screaming at his face,” the prosecutor said in Brooklyn Criminal Court. “He had directed the crowd, which grew from about 10 to 20 to almost 100 people, to yell and scream, calling this person a snitch.”
Kornbluh, who is also Orthodox, was punched and kicked last Wednesday by an enraged mob who called him a “Nazi” and “Hitler” for his criticisms of the demonstration.
Farkas said that while Tischler was in custody awaiting arraignment, that a Twitter account associated with him launched a “campaign against the complainant.”
The account tweeted Kornbluh’s address and a group of people gathered outside his home Sunday night, and “they yelled and they screamed and there were bullhorns and they were there until about 3 a.m.,” the prosecutor told the judge.
Tischler interjected, “Your honor, it’s not. I only have one account.”
Tischler’s attorney Abraham Hoschander vehemently countered that the protective order should be issued against Kornbluh in Tischler’s favor.
“He’s a bigger danger to my client,” the attorney claimed, adding that the 24 hours his client spent in jail awaiting arraignment were “a travesty of justice.
“This whole thing is disgusting.”
Judge Edwin Novillo ordered Tischler’s release without bail as required by law and issued an order of protection in Kornbluh’s favor. He ordered Tischler back to court on April 27.
“Can’t I have a speedier trial than that?” Tischler interrupted.
The attack on Kornbluh occurred amid protests against new coronavirus restrictions imposed after an uptick of cases in the Borough Park neighborhood and elsewhere. Kornbluh immediately blamed the attack on Tischler, who had allegedly organized the demonstrations.
“I was just brutally assaulted, hit in the head, and kicked at by an angry crowd of hundreds of community members of the Boro Park protest — while yelling at me “Nazi” and “Hitler” — after Heshy Tischler recognized me and ordered the crowd to chase me down the street,” Kornbluh tweeted.
Kornbluh wasn’t the only reporter targeted during the demonstrations against Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new restrictions on synagogues, schools and non-essential businesses in sections of the city with high COVID-19 rates.
Freelance photographer Bruce Schaff and Borough Park resident Berish Getz were also attacked during the protests.
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